He Said, He Said: The Next John Harris...

Question: With fifth-year senior CB Sheroid Evans' season in serious doubt because of his knee injury, who is the seldom-used junior or senior capable of emerging the way John Harris did last year?

Chip Brown’s Take

DE Bryce Cottrell

Get ready for the coming out party of redshirt junior DE Bryce Cottrell.

With Ced Reed moving on and Cottrell and Shiro Davis basically deemed co-starters at DE in the spring, Cottrell seemed to be sensing the opportunity. Coaches said Cottrell was one of the most productive defensive players in the spring.

The biggest knock on Cottrell was that he wasn't playing with a confidence equivalent to his performance. The coaches basically had to tell him that the only person who didn't realize how much he had improved and how well he was doing - was Cottrell.

Cottrell always had a good first step, good burst, good ball get-off and an excellent lean as a speed rusher. But now he has added the weight - at 6-2, 247 pounds - to be more than a speed guy.

He's improving his speed-to-power rush as well as his ability to stop the run.

In the past, coaches have said Shiro Davis has been the better run stopper and Cottrell the better pass rusher. The goal is for both players to become more complete in 2015. I think Cottrell will take that next step this fall and could flirt with a double-digit sack season. Bold, I know. But Cottrell has the talent to deliver.

William Wilkerson’s Take

CB Bryson Echols

Echols is a prideful dude who isn’t going to roll over and just hand playing time to the talented freshmen trio of Holton Hill, Kris Boyd and Davante Davis.

He doesn’t have great size – 5-foot-10, 181 pounds – but he’s tough as nails and is a better-than-average 1-on-1 defender. Vance Bedford was impressed with his effort this spring.

I think he’s going to enter fall camp with a gigantic chip on his shoulder and make it hard as hell for those freshman to jump him in the pecking order. They might, but it won’t be because of a lack of effort.

Echols has played in 26 career games with only one start. I think that last number will grow a few games at the very least.


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